Thursday, July 02, 2015

Tales of a Tour Guide, Part 6

I am writing this on Wednesday night, but won’t be publishing it on my blog until Thursday (at best). This is the first blog entry I’m writing from the Sidney Rigdon home. Melanie and I moved in today (meaning Wednesday), and this is where we will be staying for the remainder of our time here in Nauvoo. We were quite comfortable in our previous residence, known as “the Bakery” because it was a bakery many years ago, but the Rigdon home is much nicer for a variety of reasons. One reason is that it’s not attached to someone else’s home. Thus, it feels more private and like our own house than did the previous location. Not that we ever had problems at the Bakery, but still. Another reason is that Rigdon’s home is a bit more posh. There’s a carpeted dining room, a couple of nice rocking chairs, and then (like the Bakery) a sofa and a recliner. Actually, the carpeted dining room might be a reason for anxiety when you have three kids, but it does indeed look nice for now. A final reason is that, unlike the Bakery, which featured six twin-sized beds (four of which comprised two bunk beds), the Rigdon home features two queen beds. Melanie and I can actually be in the same bed! Call us romantics, but we’re happy about that.

To bring you up to speed on tour guiding, we’re currently going through something of a lull before pageant season starts. The LDS Church will be putting on nightly pageants starting next week, and that’s apparently when we’ll become crazy busy. But today, we went nearly four hours without anyone requesting a tour. As luck (good or bad, I’ll leave to you to decide) would have it, a decent-sized batch of people came in for a 4:30 tour. 4:30 is the latest tour time we offer, and it was my turn to go, so I took the 15 tourists through the sites. They were a very pleasant, friendly, and inquisitive group. Somehow it came out at some point that I had been in Nauvoo for only a couple of weeks. At one point, one of the guys on the tour pulled me to the side and said, “You’re doing amazing for only being here two weeks!” It was kind. I actually really enjoyed giving them the tour, and not just because I was complimented.

Because I didn’t write yesterday (by which I mean Tuesday), I’ll mention that I got an awkward question at the very end of one of my tours. It was awkward primarily because it was a kid asking, and I didn’t know how I should respond to a kid. The kid was only about 11 (I’d guess), and the tour group consisted only of the boy and his father. They had already self-identified as LDS. But at the very end of the tour, the boy asks, “How did they decide who was the next prophet?” In retrospect, it shouldn’t have been a big deal that he asked that, and I should’ve been able to give a decent answer that wouldn’t have been controversial. But it took me by surprise and I wasn’t sure what to say, mostly because I didn’t want to undermine the dad in some way. Knowing the boy and his father were LDS, I tried to keep things geared toward them. I said something like, “I think everybody agrees that it wasn’t entirely clear what should happen after Joseph was killed. Some thought it should be Joseph Smith III. Some thought it should be Brigham Young. Most of them followed Brigham Young.” That’s not really a helpful answer, but I think it was sufficient for the audience. I know, it’s not a very interesting story for anyone reading this blog. But it was a moment where I felt a bit flustered and uncertain.

I’ll mention a couple of other minor things. Tonight was the last night of the class I’ve been participating in during my time in Nauvoo. As a reminder, my being a tour guide is part of an internship that involves taking a class for college credit. Only a couple of the tour guides are actually doing this for college credit, but we’ve all been asked to participate in the class. It’s been a good class, so I’ve been happy to be a part of it. That said, I’m also happy it’s over. 12 hours of classes per week made me feel incredibly busy on top of my full-time tour-guide job. Family time has felt incredibly sparse, so I’m grateful for a chance to feel more connected to them.

Melanie and the boys stopped by the visitor’s center today and bought some stuffed animals. From his first visit to the visitor’s center, Peter had fallen in love with a little stuffed fox that was on display. We sell both larger and smaller plush foxes, but Peter really wanted one of the smaller ones. The other day, I noticed that there weren’t any small ones on the shelf anymore, presumably because they had been sold. I was devastated, because I wasn’t certain the visitor center would get any more of them. I had planned on making sure Peter got a fox before we left Nauvoo, but I had intended to save it for the very end of our time here, so it could be something fun and new to keep by his side on the way back to Utah. Well, fortunately, I was able to find a single small fox in a drawer where we had some extra stuff not on the shelves. I decided to leave it hidden so I could eventually buy it for Peter. Then, today, Peter comes in and himself notices that there are no more small foxes on the shelf. He’s very saddened by this. And at that point, I couldn’t resist pulling out the fox from the drawer and purchasing it for him then and there. So as not to leave Eddie and Creegan out, they each chose a plush bird. Eddie had wanted a bird from his first visit, but Creegan had originally wanted a fox, too. Rather than think of sharing with Peter, however, he chose a bird. I suggested to Melanie that we buy ourselves a plush cardinal because we loved them so much in Florida and have missed seeing them since moving back to Utah. (Melanie says she’s seen cardinals here in Nauvoo, but I haven’t yet.) Melanie was pleased to hear this as she had been thinking the same thing. And so, with a discount that made such a purchase rather cost-effective, Melanie and the boys went home with three birds and a fox. A good day.

A cute anecdote: the family went to dinner tonight at the Nauvoo Mill and Bakery. (Side note: the Nauvoo Mill and Bakery ultimately has its origins in the home in which we were previously staying, which is why the latter is still referred to as “the Bakery.) On our way out, we were saying goodbye to the people who worked there. Creegan chimed in, “Bye, I love you!” He kept saying it, too, until he was certain he had been heard.

I didn’t do a “fun fact of the day” in my previous entry, so I’ll share one now. When the bulk of the Saints were leaving Nauvoo in February 1846, they were leaving a bit earlier than originally planned. They had worked out a deal with the State of Illinois in which they had promised to leave in the spring. They left in the wintertime instead, however, because charges of counterfeiting were being brought against Brigham Young, something Brigham wanted to avoid facing.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for sharing. It's really nice to hear about what you are doing.